Isis Readies National Rollout, iPhone ‘Support’ Coming (Aug. 1, 2013)
Aug. 1, 2013
Isis may be the first whole-ecosystem mobile payments system to go national when it expands to all regions later this year, and begins its toughest challenge yet: building scale. The NFC-based mobile wallet venture, led by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile U.S. and Verizon Wireless, on July 30 announced plans to roll out across the U.S. after what it describes as a successful nine-month test in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City. Isis in April announced a national rollout of its mobile payment solution for vending machines. Touting success with its open-platform strategy that welcomes any NFC-based phone with a SIM-based secure element, Isis noted that 35 different U.S. mobile devices support Isis and “support for iPhone” is expected later this year, which could help drive consumer adoption.
The iPhone support is likely to come from various NFC-enabling sleeves attachable to an iPhone, analysts say. “Based on [Apple’s] patent portfolio, they are not likely to support a SIM-based secure element,” Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst with Aite Group, tells Paybefore. And even if Apple launched an NFC-compatible phone—which some rumors suggest could happen as early as September—it’s unlikely such a device would be Isis-compatible, Oglesby suggests.
Nevertheless, while various mobile payment ventures strive for a foothold, Isis would be the first such system available nationally that involves multiple financial institutions and payment networks, as it’s configured to accept cards from Chase, Capital One and American Express Co.; multiple carriers and multiple merchant acquirers and POS providers. Competitors including Google Wallet, PayPal Inc., the retailer-led MCX mobile payment consortium now in development and many startups are also seeking ubiquity and consumer adoption in what analysts say is becoming a race to woo consumers whose payment habits are deeply entrenched.